“Would you like any bread, sir?” I asked each person who passed through the line. “Yes, God bless you and thank you for being here.”One man said to me. Some walked through with their little children, others with an obvious glaze about their vision, many missing teeth, the minority in torn old clothes; they were white, black, Hispanic and from other countries. They were moms, dads, grandpas, a few teenagers and many men that looked warn down from life.
A bell would ring every 30 minutes and the Monk in charge would say “Everybody stop whatever you are doing right now. Let’s say a prayer in thanksgiving for your life and all that God has blessed you with. Our Father….” I thought to myself are you kidding me. You are asking these people to pray in thanksgiving and they are in a soup kitchen. What will they give thanks for in this moment. Then I looked at them sitting at those tables and I watched as they nodded in agreement with the monk. They were appreciative to God for their life and their meal at that moment. We all prayed together the Our Father; some with mumbled words others as clear and loud as if they were in a church. We prayed together, we exchanged smiles and pleasantries. They ate their fill and some came back through the line up to 3 more times. They were hungry, tired, distraught and weathered. But they were kind and had dignity.
Many of us are just a few paychecks away from being in that same line. They are no different really. They are people just like we are who have for various reasons found themselves in true “need”. Well, who among us isn’t in some type of need in this life? It was humbling to stand there and give food to the hungry. It made us all appreciate the blessings in our lives and realize we truly are brothers and sisters in this world. I gave a slice of bread away but they gave me so much more.
Copyright 2012 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp